“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ~ Plutarch
These great words by Plutarch (Greek biographer, essayist, priest, ambassador, magistrate, and Middle Platonist) stand extremely true in a mentor and mentee relationship. A mentor and mentee association can be best described akin to that of a teacher and student. A mentor plays the pivotal role of stimulating the positive side of an individual to kindle the best in the mentee. It’s important to keep that space flexible, as it provides opportunities for both mentor and the mentee to grow, explore opportunities and advance in professional as well as personal space.
Traces in History
Taking a quick dip into our ancient Indian history, we observe that the importance of mentoring was well received even million years back with our ancestors accepting the Gurukul system of learning. This system of learning had a guru (teacher) and shishya (disciple) living together to share knowledge. This learning was based on accompaniment.
Cutting to the present, we will be able to relate to Montessori education which emphasizes on independence, freedom, and overall natural development of a child. It allows children to learn from practical experiences. The Montessori system of education strives on less of instruction and more of gaining awareness by practical experiences. This model advocates self construction through a steady interaction with the surrounding environment.
Reflecting on the lives of some of the eminent people throughout history, we find that a majority of them had a mentor to look up to. For instance, one of the world’s richest men in the world, Bill Gates had Dr. Ed Roberts as a mentor. Steve Jobs was mentored by Robert Friedland. Mahatma Gandhi had found his mentor in Gopal Krishna Gokhle. As we see it, these people were just outstanding in their contributions on a global scale. These mentees were provided the requisite trigger by their mentors. It helped them achieve the impetus which goes beyond the mere vision of goal attainment by a mentee.
Who Can Mentor?
Essentially, the right mentor depends upon what kind of knowledge exactly the mentee is looking out for. A mentor necessarily need not be a person who holds some senior position. It can be anyone whom a mentee has met. A mentor by all means helps in plucking the mentee out of his/her shell. By understanding innate potential innate in the mentee, mentors can help them to pursue their dreams and aspirations with the requisite positive zeal.
The Process of Mentorship
A mentor is an experienced guide who is empathetic and knows how it is to be in your shoes. A mentor provides feedbacks, suggestions and the imperative encouragement to move forward and helps you put your best foot forward to step up to the next level. Mentors exercise several techniques for taking learning to the next level. They accompany, by committing to the process. They sow, by preparing and adding value to their guidance, so it is understood across all stages. At a critical stage of learning, when the mentee’s perception needs to transcend to a higher zone, mentors can even catalyze and provoke gainfully under pressure. They demonstrate, by setting an example of their behaviour as a leadership skill. They teach the mentee how to harvest the benefits of their training by connecting their increased awareness to application in work and life.
Mentoring Success – in Terms of an Organization
In the last decade companies have begun to realize the need to reignite the mentor and mentee relationship, and are going great lengths to formalize this through supportive policies. It is now understood that if organizations invest in smarter nurturing of their talent, it will foster healthy work relationships and business will consequently thrive. Building a sturdy company culture from the roots means birthing innovation which is a profitable function of today’s agile business dynamics.
In the corporate world, mentoring programs have been found critical for developing, retaining and also for attracting employees. A survey by the American Society for Training and Development entails 75% of private sector executives found “mentoring” to be the essential helping hand to reach out to the current position they were in. Mentor-protégé programs are important for change or transition, and also facilitate coaching, knowledge transfer, and the creation of contacts, among other things for fresh recruits. A coach or mentor will help a new employee adjust to the culture in an organization. New and young professionals take time to get accustomed to an organization’s practices and acceptable behaviors. The coach apprises the new worker of the corporate culture, organizational structure and procedures that will help the younger professional to integrate comfortably with the business. It is very useful to assign a mentor or coach for new employees during onboarding and adjustment, to help them get closer to company procedures, policies and business goals. With a mentor, the new employee has a one point source of confidence and information in a new environment.
What is the role of Performance Management in Mentoring?
Performance Management tracks an individual’s overall performance, as an employee, team member and co worker. It is a method to help an employee identify and recognize weaknesses, strengths and potential by evaluation, so they can set goals to realize their personal career growth. As a general opinion, if mentoring and performance management are linked together it will encourage the person to develop in his/ her career immensely. Following points will throw in more clarity about the same:
- Proper mentoring helps an employee to gain an objective experience of their actions and efforts. The “actual” hurdles that are affecting his/her performance come to light and a solution can be derived to proceed further.
- The discussions that the mentor and the mentee have will be honest to the core and will provide ample opportunity for positive transformation. Hence performance gets a positive boost.
- Employees who are mentored tend to stay longer with the organization, as they feel nurtured and valued, and this builds a desire for them to give back, thereby contributing to the overall success and growth of the company.
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Rely on mentoring to kindle the pious fire in your workforce and let PeopleWorks help you keep track of highs and lows of your employees’ work path, to overcome the hurdles in your passage to success. Experience growth uninterrupted with PeopleWorks!